ON THIS DAY: RAMPAGING MIKE TYSON DESTROYS PINKLON THOMAS IN SIX
This is one you watch through your fingers.
On May 30, 1987, Mike Tyson successfully defended his WBA and WBC heavyweight titles by posting a brutal sixth-round stoppage of Pinklon Thomas at the Las Vegas Hilton. The official time was 2:00.
Eager to put memories of a lackluster decision win over James “Bonecrusher” Smith behind him, Tyson was at his explosive and savage best. The 20-year-old power-puncher went on the attack from the opening bell, nailing Thomas with a fusillade of devastating blows. When that session was over, the Michigan-based challenger was already woozy and had sustained serious damage. However, Tyson couldn’t secure the quick stoppage he’d hoped for and Thomas did enjoy some success, popping his opponent with the jab and crossing over a sharp right.
Thomas was still boxing well in the sixth when Tyson scored with a pulverizing left hook lead. Clearly shaken, Thomas’ predicament was like blood to a shark and his fate was sealed. Tyson opened up with killer combinations and dished out terrific punishment during a rampaging assault. Multiple left hooks, right hands and uppercuts crashed home and a badly hurt Thomas finally crashed to the canvas. Incredibly, he found his feet, but trainer Angelo Dundee had entered the ring and escorted his charge back to the corner.
“I saw in previous fights he would get tired,” revealed Tyson during his post-fight interview with HBO. “I said if I knock him out when he’s tired, he won’t have any defense and it’ll be spectacular.”
Tyson improved to 30-0 (27 KOs) and would unify the division by outpointing Tony Tucker in his next outing. Thomas, a former WBC titleholder, was stopped by Evander Holyfield the following year and would never fight for the championship again.